By Emily Davison
While driving or riding an ATV can be a fun and exciting experience, it may also be a dangerous one. Without taking proper precautions, riding an ATV can even be deadly. In February of this year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission published its 2011 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries. According to this 31 page report, in 2011 alone there were an estimated 107,600 ATV related injuries treated in emergency rooms in the U.S. While the Commission is still in the process of collecting data on the number of ATV caused fatalities for 2011, at the time of publication in February, the Commission reported 327 deaths.
The Report further breaks down these figures and reports and shows that in 2011, 17% of the fatalities thus far reported are children under the age of 16. 47% of those are children under the age of 12. Finally, the report states that while 87% of injuries seen by emergency room personnel in 2011 were treated and released, 12% of injuries required treatment and transfer or treatment and admission to the hospital. 28% of total injuries were to the head and neck area.
The information provided by this Report, while insightful, is purely empirical. It does not give ATV riders and drivers information on how to avoid becoming a statistic. ATVSafety.gov, however, provides excellent tips for riders and drivers alike on ATV safety. The site suggests that ATV users take a safety training course, wear protective gear (especially helmets!), do not drive with a passenger unless the ATV is specifically designed for such a purpose, avoid using ATVs on paved roads, allow children only on child sized ATVs, and do not drive while under the influence. For more information on ATV safety, and even where you can find nearby hands-on safety training courses, please visit ATVSafety.gov.